Professors: Walker, Sugimori
Requirements for the Minor in Japanese
Number of Units
Six units are required.
JAPN 103 Beginning Japanese III, or its approved equivalent.
Three more Kalamazoo College units (or their equivalent) of upper-level Japanese language courses through at least the JAPN 203 level. These may comprise JAPN 201, 202, 203; equivalent units earned during study abroad; or other approved alternatives. Students who repeat the beginning level of language [100 level equivalent] on study abroad, after having taken the first-year sequence on campus already, will be required to take one more language course on campus upon return, at the level in which they place. One Japanese literature in translation course, taken on campus (JAPN 235-239). One other Japanese studies course (may include an approved course taken during study abroad).
JAPN101Beginning Japanese I Introductory course; basic grammar and vocabulary; emphasis on listening and oral foundations; hiragana and katakana and an introduction to kanji. Students are encouraged to begin this course sequence in their first year in order to complete the three-quarter sequence (JAPN 101, 102, 103) required for study abroad, as well as the second year sequence (JAPN 201, 202, 203) before study abroad.
JAPN102Beginning Japanese II Further introduction to basic grammar and vocabulary; development of fundamental reading and writing skills using hiragana, katakana, and approximately 50 kanji. Prerequisite: JAPN-101
JAPN103Beginning Japanese III Reinforcement of basic listening and development of oral and aural competency; further achievement of reading and writing skills using the kana and approximately 100 kanji. Prerequisite: JAPN-102 or equivalent placement
JAPN201Intermediate Japanese I Further work in conversation, oral interpretation, and elementary composition using approximately 200 kanji; study of idioms fundamental to an active use of spoken and written Japanese.Prerequisite: JAPN-103 or equivalent placement
JAPN202Intermediate Japanese II Further refinement in areas studied in JAPN 201.Prerequisite: JAPN 201 or equivalent placement
JAPN203Intermediate Japanese III Further refinement in areas studied in JAPN 202.Prerequisite: JAPN-202 or equivalent placement
JAPN236Pre-Modern Japanese Literature This course deals with literature produced in the Japanese court in the Japanese language between the ninth and fourteenth century and will focus on the of the women's tradition of the court. Japan is the only nation in the world whose early canonical works of prose literature in the vernacular are consistently and overwhelmingly by women. This course will examine several major texts of that early tradition, the second of which, Tale of Genji, is the earliest piece of long prose fiction in the world. We will be analyzing the various texts in relation to such questions as the following: What sorts of social/cultural circumstances supported the flowering of a woman's literary tradition? What have been the themes of their writings? What role did these texts serve in the lives/consciousness of their predominately female audience?
JAPN237Japanese Literature in Translation: Tokugawa (Early Modern) The Tokugawa period in Japan spanned roughly two hundred fifty years (1603-1867). The central ideology of the state was a combination of Confucianism, a philosophy imported from China, which stressed hierarchical social relationships, loyalty, and honor. With a few exceptions, however, the Tokugawa period was one of peace in which the skills of a warrior were seldom called upon. It saw the urbanization of a number of major cities in Japan, chief among them Edo, Osaka, and Sakai, and along with that urbanization the growth of a money-based economy and an urban, commoner culture. Much of the literature discloses these twin spirits and their conflict. In this course our readings will focus on several genres and authors: the plays of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the prose works of Ihara Saikaku, and the poetry of Bashô.
JAPN238Post-War Japanese Literature in Translation This course surveys important Japanese writers of the post-World War II era, with special attention to the profound transformations that followed the dissolution of the Japanese Empire in 1945. In the immediate postwar period the physical map of "Japan" shrank dramatically, and a national imagination that had for decades ranged across the plains of Manchuria and far into South Asia collapsed in on itself. This course investigates the ways in which prominent writers (and a few filmmakers) confronted this collapse and everything it implied, from a tentative renegotiation of Japan's place in the world (largely via its relationship with the United States), to a rapidly urbanizing society's relationship to its own hinterlands. Authors covered include Dazai Osamu, Abe Kobo, Murakami Ryu, Tawada Yoko, and Furukawa Hideo. All readings, lectures, and discussions in English.
JAPN239Modern Japanese Literature in Translation This course will examine a number of Japanese authors, from the late 19th century through the early 20th century, who have addressed the cultural and psychic disease that resulted from Japan's encounter with the West and transformation of Japan into a modern, nationalistic state. Authors read will include: Natsume Soseki, Mori Ogai, Higuchi Ichiyo, and Tanzaki Jun'ichiro.
JAPN245Japanese Language in Society This course explores several major aspects of language use associated with Japanese culture and society. The course aims not only at familiarizing students with various aspects of Japanese language with reference to culture and society, but also their developing an appreciation for a different culture. When discussing the inherent inter-relationship between language and culture, including the beliefs, values, and social organization, we will focus on the ideas of power, hierarchy, gender, and history. No previous knowledge of Japanese or linguistics is assumed or required. Readings, lectures, and discussion are all in English.
JAPN250Manga/Anime and Gender in Modern Japan Why are manga/anime so popular? Let's find out. This course undertakes a critical analysis of manga (comics) and anime (animation). We will examine these media's historical origins, narrative features, the world's reception and much more. The samurai warrior, the bishônen (beautiful boy), and the sexy cyborg-gender in Japanese culture has vivid representations. This course explores constructions of masculinity and femininity, paying attention to the figures of the girl as the postwar descendant of the bishônen, the ostensibly undersocialized otaku and yaoi culture and transgender manga where imagination opens the door to alternate and critical realities.
JAPN295Visions of Utopia, Dystopia, and Apocaly From anarchism to Akira, from Buddhism to the bomb, modern Japanese culture has continually produced visions of a world perfected through its own utter devastation. This class explores visions of utopia, dystopia, and apocalypse that reveal volumes about the societies from which they arise, even as they point to the future. Topics include the use of utopic or apocalyptic visions in political discourse, human impact on the natural world and its flourishing or destruction, and the potential of technology to improve human lifeâ?"or to destroy it entirely. Primary readings range from radical Japanese feminism of the early 1900s to the 1954 film Godzilla. Critical readings will introduce ecocritical and post-human approaches to the world in which we live.
JAPN301High Intermediate Japanese Language This course is the first level of the third-year Japanese language sequence, offering more advanced training in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.Prerequisite: JAPN-203 or equivalent placement
JAPN302High Intermediate Japanese Language II This course is the second of the third-year Japanese language sequence, offering more advanced training in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.Prerequisite: JAPN-301 or equivalent placement
JAPN401Advanced Japanese This class is an advanced level class. It is expected that students will have a strong base in Japanese grammar and the four language skills of Japanese: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as aspects of Japanese culture and society.Prerequisite: Placement or at least six-month study abroad and permission.
JAPN490Senior Seminar Prerequisite: Senior Standing
JAPN593Senior Individualized Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.